Analysing My Own Games: Work hard at the board

Analysing My Own Games: Work hard at the board

Nov 19, 2015, 6:22 AM |
Laziness at Chess manifests itself in many forms. One's "objective" assessment of a position is clouded by the result, particular if in our thoughts it is predetermined.
I am guilty of this. One may instantly dismiss an opponent's move, and thus "analyse" in such a way to justify that your calculations support the result that you want.

Black to Move
I identified this as a critical position for Black. White has just played 24. Rhf1.
I had seen that 25. ... Bxc3 would fail to 26. Rxf2 Rxf2 27. Rd8+ Rf8 28. e7
With the Knight on c3 off limits, I turned my attention to 25. ... Rxh2. I wanted this to work. So I embarked on looking at 25. ... Rxh2 with two White pieces hanging.
I dismissed the line 25. e7 Bxe7 26. Be6+ Kh8 27. Rxf8+ Bxf8 28. Rd8 Rf2.
I reached the above position in my analysis and "believed" the only resource for Whtite was to attempt an interference with 29. Bf5 after which I saw 29. ... g6 30. Rxf8+ Kg7 as winning for Black.
I wanted this to work. I trusted this and didn't work hard enough for my opponent. I didn't take into consideration any other forcing moves for him.
In essence, I missed 29. Ke2 after which my Rook is trapped. But primarily, I wasn't objective in my assessment. I had the final assessment I wanted, and the analysis I undertook subconciously supported it.
The strive for objectivity is a pursuit worth persisting if you want to improve.

Game Annotations and Analysis
The annotations are my own analysis blended with GM Bojkov's after I asked him to review my game.
A number of great themes came through.
1. In order of importance, attention in an endgame must be given to firstly Pieces, then the King and finally the Pawns. This is heavily illustrated in this game with the safety of the King.
I had asked the following questions in thie game analysis: 
1) How does theory assess the position after 18. ... bxc6 and what should the plans for both sides be?
Whilst Black has a worse pawn structure, the e6 pawn is doomed and the safety of White King is paramount. Of 8 games from the position, White has only won once.
2) After White played 19. g3, was castling and Rf6 the best plan for Black?
This was a good plan for Black, as it gained activity for all pieces
3) Black's 23rd move 23. ... Bf6 I felt was a critical moment. Was there a better way to exploit White's Knight and how would you assess the position
23. ... Bb4 was objectively better, after which the manoeuvre of Nb6-c8-d6 would have been strong
4) When White played 24. Rhf1 I thought he blundered as after 24. ... Rxh2 there are two pieces hanging. I saw up to 28. ... Rf2 and thought his only try was 29. Bf5 after which g6 wins for Black. But I missed the quiet 29. Ke3
How do I improve my calculation to stop such things happening to me?
Is it a matter of undertaking more tactical problems, or habits to build into my play?
Quite simply, look hard for forcing moves by your opponent. 29. Ke2 is not too hard to see if you have the mindset to find holes in your calculation and the effort to seek better alternatives.
5) Was 25. ... Rxh3 my only try, and could Black hold after this?
Practical chances remained by exchanging off Queenside pawns, thought the White Rook would be too active even with reduced pawns

Model Game:

Geller-Korchnoi, Leningrad 1960 0-1

A model game of the Alekhine's for Black, recommended by GM Bojkov which I will have to self analyse later.